I love to throw a party! Casual, fancy, buffet, plated, wine-tasting, cocktails and appetizers, fajita bars, BBQ... you name it, I've done it and I love it.
I have a group of friends who have a "Femme Foodies" dinner once a month and we try new restaurants. After going to the private room of the new fanciest restaurant in town, we decided to do a casual dinner party and I offered to host. It was so fun!
We were a couple weeks before Easter and my mom happened to be coming to town, so she brought the leftover "grass" she was using for her Easter tables and we decorated the three tables with my existing crystal, china and marble eggs... plus some gorgeous flowers! She ALSO brought my great grandmother's gold plated flatware and her white lace napkins. Here are the decorations and table settings. (Food and recipes below!)
Main dining table
Breakfast bar (didn't end up using this because less people came than originally RSVPed)
Folding table (slightly fancier than a basic one. It's rectangle... wood with leather top.)
Appetizer Station set-up.
Seating area decorations.
Everyone brought a bottle of wine and we tasted different new favorites. The idea was to introduce the group to new inexpensive wines. We were introduced! And we loved it!
For appetizers, we had "Bean Bruschetta" with garlic toast and a great cheese tray with peppered honey (just honey with cracked pepper, stirred) and Peach Habanero Pepper Preserves.
Dinner was Pistachio Chicken with Avocado Lime Sauce, Wild Rice (90 second microwave bags!) and Salad with carrots, cucumbers, red bell pepper, goat cheese, walnuts, strawberries and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Dessert was a trio that included Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta, a Nutella Caramel Hazelnut Brownie and Vanilla Ice Cream.
People came at 7:30, they helped cook (aprons and all!), we hung out and ate and drank, then they helped clean up the whole thing and we hung out after all was done. The key to a successful party is to just relax and roll with the little things that might go wrong! It was a wonderful party. I just wish I had taken photos of the food... it was so good (if I do say so myself.)
And here are the two recipes that aren't links:
Otherwise known as "Bean Curd De Glory" by my sister and her friends. :)
1 Large can (or two small) cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
4-6 Tbs Olive Oil
4-6 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic (Minced)
3-6 Leaves Fresh Basil (Chopped Fine)
Few Shakes Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Serve with 7 Grain or other thick bread... toast in skillet with brushed on olive oil and sprinkled garlic powder.
(I don't use the exact measurements for any of this, but first time you make it... this is a start!)
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, finely ground
1/2 + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon + 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoon EVOO
1/2 cup diced sweet white onion
Avocado Lime Sauce:
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
3 tablespoons EVOO
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
To make chicken:
Preheat oven to 375. Mix nuts in a pie plate with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Press the chicken into the nuts. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and cook the coated breasts, 2 minutes per side. Place the breasts in a baking dish and bake for 15 min. or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160 and the juices run clear.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the diced onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook until the onion is browned.
To make the sauce:
Puree the onion, avocado, oil, lime juice and water in a blender.
ENJOY! Let me know if you make these and how they turn out. OR share your favorite recipes with me! :)